9 Basic Steps to the Class of 2015

Step 1 is to identify the purpose of the communication.  Our goal is to entice students to attend Samford University and be Journalism and Mass Communication majors. The product we are trying to sell to our audience is the JMC department. Multiple factors deem it to be high quality, and I would highlight the excellent and caring professors, the wide variety of programs available, the Mac lab, and the multiple areas of concentration.  In addition a key selling point is the blessing of being taught to work in every area of journalism, not just one.  JMC majors at Samford do pick a focus concentration, but they are trained to work in every area from print to photography to broadcast, and both online and off so that no matter what their employer/prospective employer throws at them they will be prepared.  This makes Samford graduates more prepared and gives them an advantage in the application process.

Step 2 is deciding who should be reached, or who is the target audience.  Juniors and seniors attending high school in the southeast is the most obvious choice.  From there to take a more narrow vantage point we would look into schools with literary programs or acclaimed high school papers and target those students as they will be the ones most interested in our program.  An analysis of where most current JMC students come from (states, regions, schools) should be done to see where it is most likely our prospective students attend currently as those people are the most likely to attend in the future.

The students we heavily target should have at least writing skills, and I would propose we have them submit a sample of their work.  It may not actually affect their application to Samford, but when someone feels like they have been chosen they feel more wanted and a person that feels wanted is much more likely to be involved with the group that wants them.

Step 3 is finding out what the audience wants to know. I would conduct surveys of current Samford students, freshman primarily, to find out what they were the most curious about when deciding to attend Samford.  I would make sure to inform them about all things Samford i.e. Greek life, food, living, extra-curricula’s, and sports.  Selling Samford is just as important as selling JMC.  As far as JMC I would cover what type of programs we offer (different concentrations possible), internships that are available or that students from SUJMC have had before, and the computer programs students are trained in that can be added to a resume.

Step 4 is to decide what is the appropriate channel to use when reaching the audience.  For prospective JMC students it is through their schools journalism department/paper/yearbook, the counselor’s offices, home mailings, and blog/Facebook/Twitter.  Pamphlets and brochures through the mail or counselor or directly to the journalism outlets at their schools are great contact and provide a lot of information at once.  Blog posts, Facebook and Twitter are all great ways to reach a large number of students at once.

Step 5 is discovering what the channel used is looking for.  Counselors love to offer their students scholarship options, so I would give the offices scholarship information and applications.  Students applying to college tend to search everywhere for scholarships. I’d also make scholarship information and applications readily available on our social media sites.  Students who have scholarship at a school are more likely to go, so if we can get them to apply for scholarships we are one step closer to securing their spot at Samford in the JMC department.

Step 6 is choosing which sources should be cited.  The most reputable sources would be students already in attendance talking about how much they love the program and listing a wide variety of reasons that cross the spectrum from specific reasons they love the program to reasons the department is wonderful.  The other must-have source is esteemed alumni i.e. Tony Hale from arrested development.  In addition, as a back-up source professors commenting on loving their jobs and the students would help.

Step 7 is to find and negate negative factors that might hinder a student’s decision. Some of these for Samford include convocation credits, strictness of rules, size (small), and the boy/girl ratio.  All of these can be either downplayed or turned into a positive.  For example the size of the school can be displayed as a great way to hold leadership roles and be an immediate part of the action as opposed to large schools where most journalism students don’t stand a chance of ever having a by-line let alone an editor or leadership position.  Also, stressing the need for a JMC degree in the crazy climate of today’s work world will help with those students wondering if a degree is even necessary or if they should major in something else.

Step 8 is finding the goal of impact for the promotion. It is meant to change students’ minds about being JMC majors at Samford University and is an informant program meant to lead them to deciding to attend.

Step 9 is to include good non-verbal support.  We need excellent photography for all brochures, pamphlets, etc. that is not only artsy but provide a clear picture of the multiple opportunities in the program (radio station, Crimson, Entre Nous, sports journalism, etc.) Also, complete correctness in grammar and spelling is a must.  It would look worse than normal for a JMC department to have mistakes.   Having online films (Youtube) for people to watch is a great idea too, and linking these to our other social media sites will up their views.

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